Bali’s rice fields are famous around the world — and rightly so. The rice harvest is at the heart of traditional Balinese life. Plus, the fields are indescribably beautiful. The best places to see these emerald-green landscapes for yourself are the hills around Ubud. So in this post, I’ll lay out three options for Ubud rice field walks. Get your Instagram ready!
1. Short walk to Sari Organik
Time: 30 minutes (plus stops)
Difficulty: Very easy, mostly flat
Highlights: Great photo spots, lots of places to stop for a snack
Lowlights: A bit commercialized
If you just want a taste of the Ubud rice field walks without committing a lot of time or energy, this quick jaunt might be for you.
Follow the main road heading northwest out of Ubud until you see Abangan Bungalows. Turn right — you’ll see a bunch of signs for restaurants and cafes. Climb up the hill and you’ll see two paths that look like they go the same way, but they actually don’t. Stick to the right-hand side.
Follow the maze of alleys for a few minutes until you reach the first clearing. Here, you can see rice fields on all sides — and, if you’re lucky, you’ll see how the rice harvest works. The fields come straight up to the footpath, so you can see the tools they use up close.
Keep following the path and you’ll pass restaurants, yoga studios, and art galleries. If you want to buy souvenirs, the little shops are a good place to look — you can get better prices than in central Ubud. Even though most shops are geared toward tourists, the area is surprisingly quiet and the locals are friendly and welcoming.
After about half an hour you’ll reach Sari Organik — a large, open-air cafe that spills down the hillside. This is the ideal spot to grab a juice, a beer, or lunch. The views from the terrace are some of the best in all of Ubud. The food is good (and vegetarian). A meal here runs 50-100,000 rupiah.
The footpath continues past Sari Organic if you feel like wandering further, or turn around and go back the way you came.
2. Campuan Ridge Walk
Time: 3-4 hours (plus stops)
Difficulty: Moderate; some up and down
Highlights: Beautiful jungle scenery
Lowlights: Much of the walk is along a busy street
One of the more popular Ubud rice field walks, the Campuan Ridge Walk takes you high above the river, through the jungle, and into small villages.
Start at the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas. Where the driveway to the resort splits off, continue along the path to the left. It’ll take you down to the river and past the Gunung Lebah temple. This is one of Ubud’s more atmospheric temples, and is worth checking out from the outside as you walk beside it. (You may only enter to pray if you’re properly dressed.)
Cross the river and climb up the opposite bank (don’t worry, the whole trail is paved and there are stairs). It’s a steep climb for a couple minutes before you reach the top of the ridge.
From here, it’s a leisurely stroll along the ridge for about 2 km. You can take a selfie on a hillside swing, gaze out into the jungle, and admire the palm trees lining the path. There isn’t much shade, so ideally do this walk first thing in the morning, before it gets too hot.
There isn’t much civilization until you reach Bangkiang Sidem village. Most walkers stop at Karsa Kafe — a mediocre restaurant with killer rice field views — for a coffee break. Then you can choose to turn back or continue another 6 km.
If you continue, note that the rest of the time you’ll walk on the road. Continue on the main road out of town and take your first obvious left (not a dirt track, a paved road). Follow that down to the riverbed (a steep descent) and climb up the other side (an even steeper ascent). Then head south to get back to Ubud. This last stretch isn’t super worth it (I walked down to the riverbed before getting bored and turning back), so if you’re short on time, turn around at Karsa Kafe.
3. Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Time: 2-3 hours, including transportation
Difficulty: As easy as you want it to be — you can hike all over the terraces or just go to the main viewing areas
Highlights: One of Bali’s iconic landscapes
Lowlights: Huge crowds and you need private transportation
The Tegalalang Rice Terraces are the ones you’ve seen on Instagram. They’re a remarkably beautiful (and justifiably popular) half-day trip from Ubud.
I didn’t end up having time to go, so I can’t speak from personal experience. But basically you either rent a motorbike or hire a driver to cover the 8 km trip out of Ubud. If you hired a driver, he’ll also serve as your guide. Most travelers report massive overcrowding at the main viewpoint, but it is possible to hike to quieter areas — just arrange it with your guide up front.
After you explore the Ubud rice field walks
There is plenty more to do in Ubud than simply walk through the rice fields. Don’t miss the city’s amazing art museums. Catch a Balinese dance performance in the evenings. Sign up for a yoga class, if that’s your thing. And be sure to sample a few of the healthy, veggie-friendly cafes Ubud is so famous for.
Looking for a good home base while you do the Ubud rice field walks? Try Depa House. For $15 a night you get your own room with a private bathroom, run by a friendly family, behind a traditional temple. Bonus: The (free) breakfast includes an entire plate of fresh fruit.
Ubud can feel surprisingly crowded at times. But a walk in the rice fields is a good way to get away from the traffic and tourists that choke the city center. Don’t miss out on the Ubud rice field walks!
What’s your favorite escape from Ubud? Leave a comment!
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